There is a growing international recognition of the importance of the early years of schooling as well as an interest being shown in the relationship of early education to later achievement. This article focuses on a cohort of English pupils who have been tracked through primary school during the first five years of the new National Numeracy Strategy. It reports a limited longitudinal study of young children’s early mathematical development, initially within three testing cycles: at the mid-point and towards the end of their reception year (at five years-of-age) and again at the mid-point of Year 1 (at six years-ofage). These cycles were located within the broader context of progress through to the end of Key Stage 1 (at seven years) and Key Stage 2 (at eleven years) on the basis of national standardised assessment tests (SATs). Results showed that children who bring into school early mathematical knowledge do appear to be advantaged in terms of their mathematical progress through primary school. Numerical attainment increases in importance across the primary years and practical problem solving remains an important element of this. This finding is significant given the current emphasis on numerical calculation in the English curriculum. It is concluded that without active intervention, it is likely that children with little mathematical knowledge at the beginning of formal schooling will remain low achievers throughout their primary years and, probably, beyond.
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Aubrey, C., Godfrey, R. & Dahl, S. Early mathematics development and later achievement: Further evidence. Math Ed Res J 18, 27–46 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03217428